News and Commentary

Majority Of Restaurant Employees Already Lost Their Jobs Over Coronavirus
Wyomissing, PA - April 6: A sign in the window of Dosie Dough Bakery reads, 'Due to Covid 19 we will be closing temporarily. We hope to see you soon,"' on April 6, 2020(Photo by Lauren A. Little/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)
Lauren A. Little/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Roughly two-thirds of restaurant employees have lost their jobs since the outbreak of the coronavirus in the United States, according to an industry study.

The National Restaurant Association released measurements and predictions of the coronavirus and subsequent government regulations’ impact on the restaurant industry on Tuesday. The industry group said the sector has already experienced massive losses that will continue through 2020.

The NRA surveyed 6,500 restaurant owners and operators across the United States and found that, since March, 8 million workers have been laid off or furloughed and four in 10 restaurants have closed. The restaurant industry lost about $30 billion in sales in March and estimates another $50 billion in lost sales by the end of April. That total is expected to grow to $240 billion by the end of 2020.

The coronavirus lockdowns implemented by all but eight states in the U.S. have led to record-shattering increases in unemployment. The Department of Labor reported on Thursday that 4.4 million Americans filed for unemployment insurance last week, bumping up the total number of filings received since March to more than 26 million.

The number of unemployment claims is well over the roughly 15.3 million Americans that were jobless at the height of the Great Recession that resulted from the 2008 financial crisis.

Protests by hundreds of workers, many of whom have been deemed “non-essential” and forced to leave their jobs or cease operating their businesses, have broken out across a handful of states. Some state and local governments have continued to crack down with strict isolation policies, locking up parks and playgrounds to prevent people from gathering outside.

By Friday morning, the United States had reported nearly 900,000 cases of the coronavirus with over 50,000 deaths. New York is the worst hit state reporting nearly 270,000 cases of the pathogen and roughly 21,000 deaths.

A handful of states have begun moving toward lifting stay-at-home orders while maintaining varying degrees of social distancing. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has put forward the most aggressive opening strategy that, according to The Associated Press, won President Trump’s approval before the president flipped and criticized Kemp’s approach in a press briefing on Wednesday.

“I told the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, that I disagree strongly with his decision to open certain facilities,” Trump said at a White House coronavirus task force briefing.

“I think it’s too soon, and I love the people,” Trump added. “I love those people that use all of those things, the spas, the beauty parlors, the barbershops, tattoo parlors, I love them. But they can wait a little bit longer, just a little bit — not much — because safety has to predominate.”

The House passed another installment of emergency aid on Thursday totaling $484 billion to go toward replenishing a federal loan fund to help small businesses and aiding small hospitals.

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